Meningitis hits Niger, kills 16
By Ummi Ismaeel,
An outbreak of Cerebro Spiral Meningitis at Tungan-Jika and Mazakari villages in Magama Local Government Area of Niger State has claimed about 16 people out of the 31 cases reported in four local government areas of the state.
Niger State Commissioner of Health and Hospital Services, Dr Mustapha Mohammed Jibrin, disclosed this to journalists in Minna.
The dead includes nine females and seven males recorded in Magama village.
The commissioner said that the dead were between the ages of one and 20, adding that the four local government areas including; Magama with 23 cases; Rijau has four cases, Kontagora recorded three cases and Agwara has one case first reported on March 6, 2017.
About 77 per cent cases of the deaths were recorded in Magama where most of the localities ignorantly claimed it was witchcraft attack on the community, the commissioner pointed out.
The commissioner further disclosed that within the year (2017), Nigeria has recorded a total of 374 cases in 21 states with 49 deaths which usually occurred between the months of December and June annually due to excess heat, overcrowding, poverty, malnutrition among others.
Meningitis is caused by bacteria which affect the central naval system and spinal cord, the commissioner explained, adding that the symptoms usual manifests between two and 10 days of infection from fever, severe body pain and as well, neck stiffness.
Jibrin, however, assured of the state government’s prompt identification and treatment of the victims who had erroneously believed that it was a witchcraft attack as alleged by the villagers and therefore appealed to them to avoid overcrowded environment.
Good ventilation, good hygiene, regular hand washing among others are some of the ways to avoid meningitis, the commissioner said and charged rural dwellers who had little or no knowledge of the disease and its symptoms to report any of such occurrences to nearest hospital.
He expressed satisfaction that the situation has been brought under control, adding that antibiotics had been administered to those who had close contact with the victims and also the state government is partnering the WHO for the preventive measures and to stem its spread.